The famous haiku poet Matsuo Basho stayed in Shionji Temple on July 3rd, 1689. Matsuo Basho and his disciples traveled to the Dewa Sanzan as a part of their "Oku no Hosomichi" journey.
Regarding his stay in Minamidani, Matsuo Basho wrote the following haiku :
有難や Arigataya ("How blessed am I")
雪をかほらす Yuki o kahorasu ("To see the snow on Gassan")
南谷 Minami dani ("from Minami dani")
It is very rare for haiku poets, especially for Matsuo Basho, to use direct expressions involving feelings such as the word "arigatai" ("to feel thankful"), but this is the wording the famous poet chose to convey his memories in Minami Dani.
Minami dani is located on the right path before the San no Saka 三ノ坂. The temple has disappeared, but the Buddhist steles and statues remain on the site.
To go there, get on the bus bound for Haguro-Gassan (bus timetable) and get off at Haguro Zuishinmon mae 羽黒随神門前 to go there by climbing Mt. Haguro's stone steps.
You need to climb Mt. Haguro's stairway to go there. The stone steps can be very slippery after the rain, so please watch your steps. Bring rainwear in case of bad weather, and water supply to prevent dehydration.
Some people find Mt. Haguro's exploration to be a very physical exercise. Please make sure you are feeling well enough to walk Mt. Haguro's stone steps